Normally, a softball team that loses two players with the talent level of Felicia Kons and Amanda Witzlib is in a world of hurt.
But the Germantown softball program is in no way ordinary. Despite those deep graduation losses, the young Warhawks are off to a 4-1 start on the young season.
Co-coach Kurt Raguse describes the "problem" this way.
"We have eight seniors, but right now only two are starting," he said. "We've had dominant freshmen and junior varsity teams the last couple of years so that made it the worst time this spring as far as picking a final roster (for the varsity). It's a real bottleneck. Kids were fighting each other tooth and nail for positions.
"We still had 23 of them in the mix as of the Sunday (before the first game). We told the kids, you're going to have to really play (to get a spot on the team)."
Kons was a NOW All-Suburban selection as she and Witzlib dominated the All-North Shore Conference voting for the three-time defending league champions.
They opened the season two weeks ago with a nonconference loss to powerful rival Menomonee Falls but then ripped off consecutive victories over Whitefish Bay (5-3), Grafton (10-0), Cedarburg (13-2) and North Fond du Lac (16-0).
"Falls beat us pretty well in that first game, but for us it was just a matter of getting them to be more aggressive at the plate," Raguse said. "Just go up there and hit. In the last few games that idea has started to show up. We've really put a lot of runs on the board."
Kons and Witzlib were a devastating one-two punch on the mound for Germantown last season. In place of them is returning senior letter winner Kim Soderberg along with junior Jordan Wood and sophomore Michelle Moore.
Junior letter winner Haley Johnson will be catcher. First base is being manned by Kaley Schultz while Wood and freshman Amanda Williams are sharing time at second. Three-year letter-winning senior Erika Berry is at shortstop while senior letter winner Korey Rossman is at third.
In the outfield, sophomore Michaela Buchholz is in left while sophomore Sarah Richmond is in center and Caitlin Conway in right.
Raguse said the sophomore class is extremely deep and experienced with most of the top players competing all summer long in select leagues. They defeated Falls in that opener.
"Every game, they're getting better," Raguse said. "I feel good the way we're swinging the bats right now. In the long run, I believe that our pitching will be sound. We're so young though. We're bound to hit some bumps in the road, but with the talent we have, I don't think they'll be big ones.
"These kids are pretty tough."
In the North Shore win over Bay on Tuesday, April 8, Wood got the victory with eight strikeouts and two walks while Berry had two hits.
No details were available from the Grafton game. Against Cedarburg, Moore looked good pitching while Soderberg split time in the win over North Fondy, Raguse said.
"Everyone said that we lost two (great) pitchers, but I think we'll be in good shape (on the hill) this spring," he said.
The Hawks will return to action at the powerhouse Ashwaubenon Tournament on Saturday, April 26.
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